The Adidas Takumi Sen 8 delivers a fun and fast ride, with a lightweight design that’s more stable than full carbon super-shoes. However, whether it’s actually quicker than those carbon shoes is hard to prove, and the Takumi Sen 8 might be too niche for most runners.
- Very light
- More stable than carbon shoes
- Fast ride for racing
- No carbon plate
- Almost as expensive as carbon plate shoes
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The Adidas Takumi Sen 8 is an early example of a new type of racing shoe, which sits between the traditional low-stack racing flat and towering carbon-plate models like the Nike Vaporfly. The Takumi Sen 8 is lighter and has a shorter stack than its super-shoe stablemate the Adidas Adios Pro 2, and built for 5K and 10K races rather than marathons.
Some super-shoe elements remain though, with the Takumi Sen 8 using Adidas’s bouncy Lightstrike Pro foam and embedding EnergyRods in the forefoot to provide extra propulsion to your toe-off, though these rods are thinner and more flexible than the ones used in the Adios Pro 2.
The million-dollar question is whether this relatively stripped-back design is really faster than a full super-shoe over short-distance races – and if it is, which is better? The Takumi Sen 8 or its rival, the Nike ZoomX Streakfly?
Adidas Takumi Sen 8: Release Date And Price
The Takumi Sen 8 is available now on the Adidas website and costs £170, which is a little cheaper than the Adios Pro 2 at £180, though notably more than the Nike Streakfly, which is £134.95.
Design And Fit
Weighing 194g in my UK size 9, the Takumi Sen 8 is lighter than high-stack super-shoes like the Adios Pro 2, which are mostly in the region of 230g. There are a few exceptions like the Nike Vaporfly, Puma Deviate Nitro Elite or Asics Metspeed Sky, which weigh just over 200g in my size.
The stack is 33mm high at the heel, which is still far chunkier than the previous versions of the Takumi Sen, which were classic racing flats with minimal cushioning. The shoe has a heel-to-toe drop of 6mm, and fits me true to size. It has a slightly narrower toe box than the Adios Pro 2 but is still comfortable, and the lockdown around the midfoot and heel is secure for fast running.
Adidas’s Celermesh upper material is very thin and there is no real structure or padding around the heel or tongue to keep the weight down. The midsole is made of Adidas’s Lightstrike Pro foam, which is light and bouncy.
Under the forefoot there are five EnergyRods, which is what Adidas uses in its super-shoes instead of a carbon plate to provide a snappy and efficient ride. The EnergyRods used on the Takumi Sen 8 are thinner and bendier than the ones used in the Adios Pro 2, which again keeps the weight down and gives a more flexible feel to the Takumi.
Like the Adios Pro 2, the Takumi Sen 8 has some cut-outs in the midsole to bring the weight down. A large one on the inside of the midfoot shows off the rods, and there’s a smaller cut-out on the outer side of the forefoot.
The outsole has an impressive amount of rubber on it given how light the shoe is, with a thin layer over key sections off the heel and midfoot, and then Continental rubber on the forefoot to ensure the shoe grips on your toe-off, especially when haring around corners in short races.
The Takumi Sen 8 is a shoe built for speed over short distances and so my tests included several different interval and tempo sessions, plus a parkrun and a hard track 5K. I also did a longer run and some easy running just to see how the shoe felt, but in the main the aim was to run fast as much as possible.
That started with a long session where I did 16 reps of 60 seconds, hitting around 5K pace, with 30 seconds of recovery before going straight into a 10K at 3min 35sec/km, a little slower than my marathon pace. I was immediately impressed by how light the shoe felt in the short reps – it certainly encourages a fast turnover of your legs – and then at a steadier clip on the 10K, the amount of support it offered was surprising. It felt comfortable and quite protective over what amounted to a half marathon’s distance of mostly hard running.
All the sessions I have done since have been shorter, dropping down to some all-out speedwork running 200m reps on a cambered indoor track, and the Takumi Sen 8 feels similarly sprightly and fast as a stripped-back flat on those kinds of reps, while also having more protection for longer stuff.
I did a parkrun in the shoe in around 16min 40sec on an unfamiliar course where I misjudged my pacing and finished with a little bit too much in the tank. I also ran a disarmingly comfortable 16min 51sec 5K on the track during a session – the shoe just helps you roll through at those paces, and the EnergyRods deliver some helpful snap to keep you going towards the end of 5K and 10K efforts.
While it’s not a noticeably unstable shoe and has a much lower stack than the Adios Pro 2, the Takumi Sen 8 is still slightly wobbly at times because of the midsole cut-outs. You can certainly go hard at corners when at race pace, but it’s not going to provide similar turning speed as a traditional racing flat, though you more than make up the difference on straights.
Is The Adidas Takumi Sen 8 Worth It?
All the running I’ve done in the Takumi Sen 8 has confirmed that it’s a brilliant short-distance racing shoe. I’m sure that a lot of runners will also feel comfortable going longer in it, certainly to half marathon distance and maybe to the full marathon.
However, for me, the Adios Pro 2 remains the better pick for half marathons or marathons, with its softer, more forgiving ride that helps you roll through those longer events at steadier paces.
To pick between the two Adidas shoes for shorter events I lean towards the Takumi, but it’s close. If you’re deciding between them, you should be guided by what your main event is. As a marathoner first and foremost I’d get the Adios Pro 2 and happily use it for 5Ks, while if you mostly did shorter events the Takumi Sen 8 might be a better choice, especially with the £10 saving.
You can save even more if you buy the Nike Streakfly for £134.95, though: it is similarly impressive over short distances, though the Takumi is more supportive and better for longer events.
However, both the Nike Vaporfly and Asics Metaspeed Sky are as good as the Takumi Sen 8 for short races as well as being top-class marathon shoes. They’re slightly heavier than the Takumi at just over 200g, but the benefits of a full-length carbon plate and stiffer, more propulsive ride more than offset that, especially in longer events. Those shoes are significantly more expensive than the Takumi Sen at £225, but they are better value if you want one shoe for races of all distances.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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